Spoiler Warning

Always assume Spoilers and possible profanity in context. These are often adult themed movies.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Crow

What About It?

"The Crow" is on the surface a very simple story, a straight ahead revenge tale, with supernatural elements. We're told in the beginning that "sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right." The simple story is a very old, personal and powerful one. Certainly we're all familiar with things that happen that are so wrong, it would seem that nothing could ever make it right, hopefully just because we've heard about them. Here, we're dealing with the rape and murder of Eric Draven's fiance, and of course, to a lesser extent, his own murder. Obviously in reality, we don't get this opportunity. And "The Crow" is very honest about what it wants. We're not steered toward a happy ending. Nothing can be erased. This young couple suffered and were killed and that can't be undone.

In the world of The Crow, we have only the knowledge that at least the wrongdoers will pay for what they've done. It's like a possible answer to the question asked many times, as far back as the Biblical book of Jeremiah, which asks "Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper?" There's never been a good answer to this question unless answering with the hereafter works for you. Any help of that sort must be limited, because if you're asking the question, you're in this world. Certainly grief is not lessened by talk of mysterious ways or a reminder of the randomness in of the universe. If someone who was everything to you was lost due to cruelty, there's nothing that could make it ok.
But if we could do something, what would we do? Where would we start? Revenge is one answer, and one of the oldest stories in the world, because these dilemmas are just as old. The well known saying about digging two graves, is avoided here, because that already happened. And this isn't just any revenge, this is a man brought back from the dead just to kill the people who so greatly wronged him. For most of the film, we know that the people who committed the crimes, don't have a chance. As Eric tells Gideon "Tell them, death is coming." We can sit secure in the knowledge that an inescapable death is surely on its way to each of these men. We don't have to wrestle with moral quandaries, as we do when the government executes people. These are the guilty parties. They're all monsters and they're going to get what they gave. Eric Draven doesn't need to feel any guilt, this job is the only reason he exists. His actions are so justified that the universe brought him back to life to accomplish them.

But even so, the world of the film makes us ask other questions. The city where the events occur is beyond bleak. The world is perpetual rain and darkness. We meet one policeman who cares about his job, and he's demoted for asking questions.Half of the city is always in flames and no one can do anything about it. Top Dollar pulls the strings behind everything. The surprising thing is that any goodness can exist in this world at all, as it's so overwhelming. "It can't rain all the time." Eric tells, Sarah, but it sure seems to. Set against this landscape, a little goodness is forced to go a long way. And it does. As T-Bird liked to quote "Abashed the devil stood and beheld how awful goodness is." Evil is confronted using its own methods. While good is typically passive, the tables are turned and good is out to actively pursue it's own vendetta, so much so, that it doesn't look like "goodness" anymore, although perhaps it is. An effective element of the story is the surprise that the murderers feel that this could happen. They are comfortable in the knowledge that no one can touch them, but now they're being eliminated by someone who is more untouchable than them. They know it's coming but they must wait in terror. Still this isn't punishment equal to the crime, for that to happen we'd have to make the murderers innocent and then punish them unfairly. That, or make them feel remorse, which they don't seem capable of understanding. At best, it's a start. It's something, when previously there was nothing at all.

While it's clear that Eric is driven by what happened to Shelly, what happened to him bears mentioning. He comes back to life, not even knowing what he is. We see him stumbling out of the grave as he figures out how to walk again. He isn't invulnerable, he can be hurt, but it heals immediately. Certainly he isn't the same guy coming out of the grave as the one who went in. He knows his identity, but knows that he's dead. We see that he tries to avoid Sarah knowing he's there. Although he cares about her welfare, he tells her they can't really be friends because he's dead.  He retains much of his humanity,as we see in interactions with Albrecht and Sarah, but his movements and speech are all off. The delight he feels in doling out punishment is certainly contrary to the guy he once was. He was brought back by his own "terrible sadness." and feels no urge at all, to stick around. He wants nothing more than to reunite with Shelly and be able to tell her that he did something about what happened t them. But here, it isn't even as simple as he thinks it is. He executes the men directly involved, but still can't rest, not until he faces Top Dollar, the man behind the actions. Top Dollar and Myca are a good illustration of the mismatch between good and evil. Even brought back from the dead, Eric's supernatural gifts don't seem enough to deal with them. His invulnerability is taken from him and in the end it's only the purest gesture that evens things out. Where the murderers were murdered because that's the closest thing to justice that was available, it isn't enough for the man behind it. The only thing that stops him is Eric giving him back thirty hours of the pain he caused in one second. That's really Eric's quest, to give back that pain. He must fall back to something more in the realm of good, not a weapon, but a "gift."

Alex Proyas, does a wonderful job creating this nightmare landscape. You won't find any blues and greens in this world, because it's too dark for that. This is where you live, when there's no hope at all and your onlyidea of an angel has arrived to murder people. The soundtrack feeds into it well all hard rock and metal music, to reinforce the lack of softness. Everything is hard edges here, crumbling walls and rooftops. We get that Eric is relieved to return to the grave, because even under the best of circumstances, it isn't easy to live in this city. The world of "The Crow" was based on James O'Barr's graphic novel, although there were certainly changes made for the sake of the screen. Still, for its time it was an outstanding example of a comic book brought to film well. This was long before the explosion of quality comic book movies. It still stands  apart as it isn't really a super hero story, but the spirit of it comes through. It's telling that O'Barr, speaking of the story, departs from the conventional school of catharsis. It didn't help in that way, he's said, there was only anger in the story. That comes through, although the film softens things a bit. But in the end, we can't escape the conclusion that nothing living or dead can even the scales and make what happened acceptable. This is simply an attempt to imagine, what could "goodness" do?

Of course, the film is also well known for being the film in which the lead actor, Brandon Lee was accidentally killed while making. It was very nearly never released due to the tragedy. I recall reading interviews with Lee before it came out, and he was very proud of his work and excited to show it to everyone. His excitement is justified, as the part he plays here is a strong one and he manages to make all the contradictions of the character believable. He's an unstoppable force of vengeance, as well as in some ways, very vulnerable, and neither makes the other less believable. Although he was an accomplished martial artist, he tailored his movements here, to the character, not showing any martial arts, but the clumsy grace of a man who isn't afraid to get hurt. A perfect example is when he bats away Tin Tin's knife as if it were a baseball. He falls backwards from a rooftop and laughs landing on his back. This isn't a martial artist, although he clearly has his own way of moving. The film was dedicated to Brandon Lee and his fiance, Eliza, and it's a better memorial than most get. An actor in his greatest role. Like the story, it doesn't make anything ok, but it's something, and Lee lives on in a way, for anyone watching his work here.

The supporting cast is solid as well. I really enjoyed Ernie Hudson's performance. His Albrecht is a good contrast for Eric Draven, a lawman whose hands are tied, and has dealt with the system enough to know there's little he can do. His conversations with Eric are the most humanizing moments in the film and it helps to think that at least one person would try to help Eric with his quest, although he ultimately just ends up getting hurt. Albrecht is more of a conventional representation of "goodness" His biggest contributions are passive ones. He sat with Shelly while she died which ends up being instrumental. He looks out for Sarah. He doesn't avenge anything, just tries to help where he can.

Michael Wincott is great as Top Dollar. His raspy pirate like presence, makes him a fitting counterpart for Eric Draven. The bizarre bits of his background tell us that he's more twisted than we could likely know, given a cemetery snowglobe by his father when he was five, his too loving relationship with his half sister, and their shared fascination with eye balls among other things. He's an agent of chaos, and his biggest fear is simply boredom. He's an apex predator without conscience, and Eric's gift of pain is likely very alien to him.

T-Bird's crew are all effective in their parts, each facing their deaths in their own ways, according to their characters. Rochelle Davis is a good choice for Sarah, and her character provides the only lasting hope in the film when Eric "awakens" her mother Darla, who returns home to cook breakfast for the first time in ages. Even so, we see that she is unsure about her own fitness as a mother. Sarah must intervene and encourage her, and despite her own hurt and anger, she does. This was not part of Eric's quest, but it's perhaps the most significant and enduring "goodness" that occurs. Men like T-Bird and Top Dollar are not going to be changed (except in death here) but Sarah may have a chance, although it's much less without a mother "the word for God." So, we end up where we started in a world with very little hope. A dead man rises to settle a score and then returns to death, but Sarah is where the story would continue. It's a very small hope for the future, but it can stretch a long way due to contrast. And like most of what happens in the film, it isn't enough, but it's something, a meditation on pain put back where it belongs.

What Happens?

The film opens with an overhead view of a dark city, that's partly burning. We're told it's "October 30th - Devil's Night" We zoom in for a closer look at the run down buildings and fires. A young girl tells us in voice over,  "People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right."

We focus on a circular window of a top floor apartment where police are investigating a crime scene. Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) looks down at the street through the broken window, while smoking a cigarette. We see a body on the ground below being taken away. We see that there's another body in the apartment. Albrecht looks at personal belongings, pictures of a happy young couple. We see the woman in the photos, Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) is the one in the apartment, not quite dead, with an oxygen mask on. Albrecht finds an invitation for the wedding of Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and Shelly Webster, scheduled for October 31st. He tells another officer that their wedding was tomorrow night. The officer asks "Who the fuck gets married on Halloween, anyhow?" Albrecht says "Nobody." One of the medics tells Albrecht that they have to move Shelly. He gives the Ok. Albrecht comments "143 fires." The other officer comments "They're slacking off from last year." Albrecht responds, "Maybe they're just slow starters."  We see a crow in the apartment looking over the scene from the rafters. They leave the apartment. An officer outside, Torres (Marco Rodriguez) asks Albrecht if Shelly is the victim. He quips that she's not the victim, but Amelia Earhart. The other officer says "I can see why they took away your gold shield." Albrecht tells him. "I wasn't enough of an asshole." A young girl. Sarah (Rochelle Davis) shows up at the scene on her skateboard. She tries to talk to Shelly as they wheel her to the ambulance and asks about Eric. Albrecht escorts her away and tells her "Your sister, she's gonna be okay." Sarah tells him that Shelly is her friend and she takes care of her. She accuses Albrecht of lying about Eric and Shelly. He tells her "I had to." She asks him directly if Shelly will die and he admits it. He tries to console her.

We see a crow perched on a cemetery headstone and the screen tells us One Year Later. Sarah narrates
"A building gets torched, all that is left is ashes. I used to think that was true about everything, families, friends, feelings. But now I know, that sometimes if love proves real, two people who are meant to be together, nothing can keep them apart." We see Sarah walking through the cemetery, visiting Shelly Webster and Eric Draven at their graves. She notices the crow, cawing from Eric's grave, and leaves. The crow starts tapping his stone. We find Albrecht getting a hot dog at a roadside stand. Sarah approaches on skateboard and joins him. He buys her a hot dog. It's clear that Sarah, Albrecht and the hot dog vendor know each other well.

We next meet a group of criminals. One of them, T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly) is talking about Lake Erie having caught on fire because of all the pollution in it. He yells and the group with him starts trashing the building they're in, breaking things and setting a bomb. We cut to the crow, who looks up, as if he was alerted to the noise the gang is making. Eric Draven claws his way out of the ground while the crow looks on. Disoriented, he screams and flails around as if figuring out how to move. The gang leaves the building yelling in celebration, speeding away in T-Bird's car. Eric walks down an alley with the crow as an escort. T-Bird's group speeds past Albrecht and Sarah at the stand. We see the building blow up in the distance. Albrecht leaves Sarah to check it out. Eric walks through the rain, shivering without a shirt. He climbs up a ladder on the side of a building and we see that he's returning to his apartment, which is still closed off with crime scene tape. His cat, Gabriel greets him, but when he picks up the cat, he's surprised that the touch triggers a memory. He starts seeing last Devil's night, and T-Bird's gang letting themselves in to attack Shelly. In the memory, T-Bird reads "Abashed, the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is." He sees himself returning home to check on Shelly, only to be attacked himself with a thrown knife, then shot and tossed out the window as they rape Shelly. He experiences the injuries as if they've happened again and cuts his hands swinging in and out of the broken window. The cuts on his hands heal almost instantly however.

T-Bird and his gang, FunBoy (Michael Massee,) Tin Tin (Laurence Mason) and Skank (Angel David) go out for drinks and toast to Devil's Night. They joke over drinks and quickly start fighting with each other and everyone ends up with a gun to their head or knife to throat. They break up the standoff by cheering "Fire it up!" The waitress, Darla (Anna Levine) asks them to put the guns away and then starts making out with Fun Boy.

We find Eric and the crow still in the apartment. He looks at himself in the mirror, where a white theatre mask is hung. He recalls some happy moments with Shelly, leading up to getting married. He punches the mirror and starts painting his face white similar to the mask. He puts on a black outfit and the crow perches on his shoulder as he looks out the circular window.

We find Tin Tin at a pawnshop selling stolen jewelry to Gideon (Jon Polito) the pawn shop owner. Gideon notices a blood stain on a purse Tin Tin wants to sell him and offers him 50 bucks for what he has. Tin Tin gets mad and calls him cheap but takes the money. We see the crow watching Tin Tin leave.Eric runs along rooftops following the crow as it flies. The crow looks into an alley and sees Tin Tin. Eric responds and launches himself off the roof into a pile of trash, laughing as he lands. He approaches Tin Tin, who notices his strange appearance
Tin Tin: What the fuck you all painted up for, crackhead, huh? [Eric keeps approaching] Haloween ain't until manana. [pulls out knives] come on!
Eric tackles him and they fight. He starts throwing Tin Tin around.
Eric: Fuck you, murderer!
Tin Tin: I ain't murdered nobody, man! I don't even fucking know you! What the fuck do you want, man?
Eric: I want you to tell me a story. A man and a woman in a loft, a year ago. [image of Tin Tin throwing Shelly around]
Tin Tin: You're out of your fucking mind!
Eric: Listen! I'm sure you'll remember. You killed them on Halloween.
Tin Tin: Yeah, yeah, okay. Halloween, yeah. Some dude, some bitch. Whatever, man.
Eric: [slaps Tin Tin] Her name was Shelly. You cut her. You raped her.
Tin Tin: Shelly, yeah, yeah. I shagged her pink ass and she loved it! [headbutts Eric and then starts hitting him with a nearby pipe.] Murder, man? Murder? [pulls out knives] Let me tell you about murder. It's fun. It's easy. You gonna learn all about it. I'd like you to meet two buddies of mine. [flips knives in his hands] We never miss.
Eric stands up as Tin Tin starts throwing the knives. He ducks under one and bats another one away with his hand.
Eric: Try harder. Try again!
Tin Tin throws a third which Eric catches between his palms, leaving Tin Tin astonished. Eric throws the knife back, pinning Tin Tin's shoulder.
Eric: Victims. Aren't we all? We see him raise another knife to stab Tin Tin.

We find T-Bird's gang at a club. T Bird meets with an official looking  man named Grange (Tony Todd) T Bird tells him about the building they blew up. Grange tells him "Gather your soldiers. You're on for tomorrow night. No sweat." T Bird asks if "the man" is in, but Grange says he's in a meeting. We then see inside the room where the meeting is occuring and find T-Bird's boss, Top Dollar (Michael Wincott) and his female partner Myca (Bai Ling.) Myca showers while Top Dollar looks at a snowglobe, with another woman lying still in bed. She embraces Top Dollar.
Myca: You're thinkin about the past.
Top Dollar: [holds up snow globe] Dad gave me this. Fifth birthday. He said, "Childhood's over the moment you know you're gonna die." [Myca holds up the globe and we see it shows a cemetery]
Myca: Is she asleep?
Top Dollar: [pulls the woman in bed by the shoulder, she rolls toward them, limp and unresponsive] I think we broke her.
Myca: [standing over the dead woman with a knife over her face] I love her eyes. Pretty.

We find Sarah skateboarding down the street. She stops into the bar where T Bird and his men were drinking earlier. She approaches the waitress Darla, who is still fooling around with Fun Boy. Darla tells Sarah that she's supposed to stay out of there. Fun Boy mocks Sarah and Darla gives her some money and she leaves.

We find Gideon in his pawn shop counting his money, when Eric bangs on his door. Gideon yells at him to go away, but he doesn't. Gideon approaches the door with his gun but Eric breaks the glass and sends him flyingwith his gun knocked out of his hand. Eric enters quoting Poe's "The Raven." He tells Eric he's trespassing and picks up his gun. Eric doesn't seem to care and tells Gideon he's looking for an engagement ring. Gideon says "You're looking for a coroner, shit for brains." and points the gun and fires shooting Eric through the chest. The wound instantly heals and Gideon is astonished. Eric throws him over his counter and then stabs Gideon's hand with a knife pinning it to the counter. He repeats the request for a ring.

We find Albrecht on the street, having just discovered Tin Tin's body with a half dozen knives sticking out of his chest. Detective Torres asks who the victim is and Albrecht tells him "That's Tin Tin, one of T-Bird's little helpers. I think you can rule out accidental death." They discuss possible motives and Torres tells him "You're a beat cop now, so be a beat cop." He then notices the outline of a crow painted on a wall in blood.

Eric trashes Gideon's shop until Gideon directs him to a box of rings. He goes through the box, and finds it by touch, which triggers a memory of Shelly. He then tells Gideon he has "one chance to live." and starts pouring gasoline all over the store. He asks Gideon where to find the rest of Tin Tin's crew. Gideon tells him to go to "The Pit" where they hang out and Fun Boy lives there. Eric starts throwing rings on the ground and tells Gideon "Each one of these is a life you helped destroy." Gideon begs Eric not to kill him. Eric says "I'm not gonna kill you. Your job will be to tell the rest of them that death is coming for them. Tonight." Eric loads all the rings into a shotgun and walks away saying "Tell them Eric Draven sends his regards." He grabs an electric guitar on the way out. Gideon yells that they're going to erase him and call him "street grease." Eric looks back and asks "Is that gasoline I smell?" Gideon pleads and runs for the back. Eric fires the shotgun into the shop causing a big explosion. Gideon is knocked from the building but survives.

Albrecht finds Eric walking away from the explosion. He pulls his gun and says "Don't move."
Eric: I thought the police always said "Freeze."
Albrecht: Well, I am the police, and I say, don't move, Snow White. You move, you're dead.
Eric: And I say, I'm dead. And I move. [raises hands and approaches Albrecht]
Albrecht: Not one more step. I'm serious.
Eric: The shoot, if you will, Officer Albrecht. [bows]
Albrecht: What are you nuts? Walking into a gun? You high?
Eric: You don't remember me?
Albrecht: What are you talking about?
Eric: How about Shelly? Do you remember Shelly Webster?
Albrecht: Shelly Webster's dead, my friend. I want you to move over to the curb there. Go on, real ice and easy. Come on. move it. We're gonna wait for back up. It's getting too weird for me. [Eric obliges and sits down]
Eric: oh, it gets better. Do you know someone named T-Bird? He had a friend who shouldn't have played with knives. Like the coat?
Albrecht: You're the guy that murdeed Tin Tin.
Eric: He was already dead. HE died a year ago, the moment he touched her. [Albrecht looks at the pawn shop as people run in and out looting] They're all dead. They just don't know it yet.
Albrecht: [Yells at looters] Get away from there! [Eric slips away]

We catch up with Top Dollar and Myca in their office. She notices that he's restless. Top Dollar tells her that he "wishes he was a little hungry again." She cautions him to be careful what he asks for, and adds "There are energies aligning against you." We see that she's burning an eyeball in a bowl. Grange interrupts them, escorting T-Bird in, and tells them about the Pawn Shop burning down. Top Dollar remarks that it wasn't cleared with him. T-Bird tells Top Dollar "one of my crew got himself perished." Top Dollar asks who it was and T-Bird tells him "Tin Tin, Somebody stuck his blades in all his major organs in alphabetical order." Top Dollar confirms that T-Bird is working for him tomorrow and tells him he wants details on the pawn shop.

We see Sarah getting her skateboard ready to cross the road, but as she starts Eric grabs her from behind just before a car would have hit her. When he touches her, he sees her memories of Shelly. She questions his make up and tells him "It's more like surfing than skating. I wish the rain would stop, just once." He tells her "It can't rain all the time." She looks back and asks "Eric?" but he's gone.

Albrecht is at a desk at the police station. A female officer brings him some files and he shows her what he's looking at, files concerning the Shelly Webster case. Shelly had signed a petition to improve the conditions in the apartment complex. Albrecht calls it "a big kick me sign for a very nice girl who found herself a cause and the cause got her killed." She reminds lrecht tha the last time he snooped on a case he was put back on the beat. We see that Albrecht has marked Eric's picture to make it look like the face paint he saw.

We see Eric and te crow on the rooftop, and then Darla and Fun Boy in a room, shooting up. The crow flies into their room and squawks. Fun Boy talks to the crow saying "Here birdie, birdie." Eric shows up in the window and enters the room holding his guitar. He says "Here, Fun Boy." Fun BOy sees him and says "What the fuck?"  While Eric hangs up the guitar, Fun Boy pulls a gun and tells Eric to leave. Instead, he pulls up a chair at the foot of the bed and puts his palm over the gun. He says "Take your shot, Fun Boy. YOu got me dead bang." He tells Eric he's "seriously fucked up." and fires. Eric holds up his hand and looks at Fun Boy through the hole as it heals up. Fun Boy exclaims "Jesus Christ!" Eric remarks, "Jesus Christ? Stop me if you heard this one. Jesus Christ walks into a hotel. [Fun Boy shoots him again] He hands the innkeeper three nails and asks [Fun Boy shoots him again] Can you put me up for the night?" He rushes Fun Boy as he fires again, causing hi to shoot himself. Darla runs into the bathroom. Eric busts the door open and drags Fun Boy into the bathtub, catching memories as he drags him. Eric grabs Darla and holds her in front of the mirror. He tells her "Look. Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children. Do you understand? Morphine is bad for you." We see her arms expelling morphine through her track marks. Eric says "Your daughter is out there on the streets waiting for you." She leaves, looking over at Fun Boy on the way out. We see Eric pick up a syringe.

We see Gideon at the bar asking for more to drink. Grange shows up and asks him "You burn yourself playing with matches?" He tells Gideon he has an appointment. We see Darla running out of the bar. Grange tells Gideon to stay put and checks out Fun Boy's room. He finds Fun Boy in the middle of his floor with syringes stuck in his chest similar to Tin Tin and the knives. He sees Eric on the window sill leaving. Eric looks at him and whspers "Shhhh." before disappearing.

Albrecht is looking through photos of Eric in his apartment, when Eric sneaks in and yells "Freeze!" He tells Eric "You died. You got buried." Eric points out "You still have your hat on." Albrecht asks if he's a ghost. Eric tells him "I don't know what I am. I need you to tell me what happened to us."
Albrecht: you took a six story swan dive out of a window. She. uh, was beaten and raped. died at the hospital. Hey, you asked, man. Read the file. Shelly Webster held on for thirty hours in intensive care. Her body finally just gave it up. I saw it, man. I couldn't do jack for her.
Albrecht tries to hand Eric the files, but Eric puts his hands on Albrecht's head, getting all of his memories from the hospital.
Eric: I saw her through your eyes. You stayed with her the whole time.
Albrecht: Yeah, well, you gotta understand something, alright? I was hoping she'd come out of it, you know? Give me something I could work with.
Eric: Why didn't you do something about it?
Albrecht: You think any of those people in that building, even the ones who signed the petition, would talk after what happened to you? I kept asking questions and fially got busted for sticking my nose where it wasn't wanted.
Eric finds a picture of Albrecht with a woman. He asks if she's his wife.He tells her they're getting divorced.
Eric: It's funny, little things used to mean so much to Shelly. I used to think they were trivial. Believe me, nothing is trivial.
He takes the cigarette from ALbrecht's mouth, takes a drag and tells him "You shouldn't smoke these. They'll kill you."
Albrecht apologizes for what happened to them and Eric leaves.

We then find Gideon being interrogated by Top Dollar, Grange and Myca. He tells them that he shot the guy, but it didn't do anything. Gideon shares his encounter too, telling everyone that he winked before jumping out a four story window. Gideon demands to know what Top Dollar is going to do about it and challenges him saying "Maybe you're not such a big shot." Top Dollar throws him the eye ball they were cooking earlier and tells them "All the power in the world resides in the eyes." He opens up a compartment full of weapons and grabs a sword. He tells them "The most important thing I learned from my sister. [referring to Myca]" Top Dollar holds the sword point to Gideon's throat and asks him to give the details. Gideon remembers the bird, and relays the message that he was to tell T-Bird's crew, that "death is coming for them." He remembers he gave his name as Eric Draven. Top Dollar questions why Eric let him live. Gideon laughs and assures him he didn't make it up saying "I ain't twisted like you two fucks." Top Dollar runs him through with the sword and shoots him when he won't die quickly. Grange tells them that Fun Boy also saw the bird.

Sarah goes home and finds her "Hangman's Joke" album (Eric's band) She notices the crow at her window and says hello. The Crow flies off and finds Skank and T-Bird walking to T-Bird's car, wondering where Fun Boty is. Skank goes into a store to get cigarettes and beer while T-Bird gets in his car. Lighting a cigar, he sees the crow land on his hood. Eric sits up from his backseat and holds a gun to T-Bird's head. T-Bird asks "What the fuck are you supposed to be, man?" Eric tells him "I'm your passenger. Drive." Skank sees him speeding off, but gets hit by a car. He fights with the driver and steals the car to follow T-Bird. T-Bird offers Eric drugs or money, but Eric just tells him to drive faster, although he's already doing 90 down a city street. They get chased by some cops who notice him speeding by. Skank has trouble keeping up as he can hardly see out the broken windshield. Skank and the cops hit each other, leaving Eric alone with T-Bird. He tapes T-Bird to his driver's seat, as he explains his version of what happened the night of the murders. T-Bird  suddenly recognizes Eric and remembers that night. He says "I know you. I know you. I knew I knew you, but you ain't you. You can't be you, we put you through the window. There ain't no coming back. We killed you dead. There ain't no coming back. There ain't no coming back." Eric tapes his head back against the seat. T-Bird recites "Abashed, the devil stood, and beheld how awful goodness is. And felt how awful goodness is." Eric pulls the pin on a grenade, drops it in T-Bird's lap, and sets the car to speed forward. We see him squirting lighter fluid on the ground as the car speeds off. He opens a Zippo lighter. We see T-Bird drive off a pier as his car blows up. Eric drops the lighter and the lighter fluid shows a big crow outline. Skank watches it all fro a hiding spot close by.

We next see Grange investigating Eric's grave, which is empty. Sarah wakes up and finds Darla cooking eggs for her. She asks how she likes her eggs, but Sarah says she doesn't like eggs. Sarah asks "What'd you take to become mother of the year?" Darla tells her 'It wasn't drugs, someone kind of woke me up." Sarah asks for the details, and makes a point of calling her "Darla." Darla starts to say "forget it." but Sarah tells her how she likes her eggs just before she throws them away, and calls her "Mom."

At the police station, Albrecht is confronted by Torres, who points out that the T-Bird homicide is the third in Albrecht's beat in 24 hours. He tells Albrecht that T-Bird was fused to his car. Albrecht recalls that arson was T-Bird's specialty. Torres accuses Albrecht of covering something up, but Albrecht says "I'm not a detective." Torres then tells Albrecht he's suspended for misconduct.

Sarah heads over to Eric's old apartment building, where Eric is touching photographs and letters before burning them. She enters the apartment and calls for Eric, but doesn't see him. She notices that the fireplace is still smoking and finds a picture not quite burnt. She talks to him even though she doesn't see him, and says  "I knew it was you, even with the make up." and tells him she remembered "It can't rain all the time." from one of his songs. She says she misses him. When he doesn't answer she starts to leave, saying "I thought you cared."  He shows up then and tells her that he does care.

Skank heads back to Top Dollar and tells him what he saw. Grange reports that the grave was empty. Top Dollar tells Skank, "It ain't no ghost." Myca informs Top Dollar that guests have arrived. Sarah and Albrecht tell each other about their encounters with Eric. We see the crow flying to the club. We then move to Top Dollars office where we see lots of men loading their guns at a conference table. Top Dollar explains with Skank seated next to him, that the vandalism and fires every Devil's Night are all about the group's profit. He goes on to say "The problem is, it's all been done before." One of his associates tells him that it's no reason to quit. He argues that it's the only reason to quit. He tells them "Greed is for amateurs. Disorder, chaos, anarchy, now that's fun!" We see that Eric is listening to everything from above, close by. Top Dollar tells them that this year he wants them to light the biggest fire ever. Top Dollar's speech is interrupted by the crow flying in. Eric follows it and sits down on the conference table.
Top Dollar: You're him, huh? The Avenger, the killer of killers. Nice outfit, not sure about the face though.
Eric: [points at Skank] I just want him.
Top Dollar: Well, you can't have him.
Eric: [stands up on the table] Well, I see you have made your decision. Now let's see you enforce it.
Top Dollar: This is already boring the shit out of me. Kill him!
Everyone at the table opens fire, knocking Eric off the table. When one of the men looks for him, however, Eric is gone. Myca tries to grab the crow, but it flies away. Eric starts pulling people underneath the table and killing them, then jumps out and shoots back in the open. Top Dollar, Myca, and Grange run while Eric clears out the room, kiling everyone at the table until he's alone with Skank. Eric tells him "This is not a good day to be a bad guy, huh, Skank?" Skank answers, "I'm not Skank. Skank's dead." Eric says "That's right." and tosses Skank out a window. The police have reached the building and tell Eric to stop, shooting at him when he doesn't. They track him with a helicopter, and all available cars, until ALbrecht finds him and tells him to get in the car.

Top Dollar, Myca, and Grange discuss Eric in their limo. Myca tells them, while holding a crow's feather, "He has power, but it's power you can take from him" Top Dollar answers "I like him already." Myca goes on "The crow is his link between the land of the living and the realm of the dead." Grange suggests "Kill the crow, destroy the man."

We see Eric resting on the street. he says "I'm coming home, Shelly." He heads to the cemetery, where he finds Sarah sleeping on their graves. She tells him he didn't say goodbye. ad he tells her she'll have to forgive him. Eric gives Sarah Shelly's engagement ring on a necklace and she says bye and leaves. Grange grabs her on the way out though and brings her inside a church where Top Dollar and Myca are waiting. Top Dollar takes Shelly's ring from her and Myca talks about her eyes. The crow sees that Sarah's in trouble and Eric heads into the church after them. He realizes that Gideon has a sniper rifle aimed at the crow. He fires and the crow drops. Top Dollar approaches Eric and tells him "Got an impression for you. Caw, caw, fuck, I'm dead." Eric tells Top Dollar to give him the girl and he'll let him walk out. We see that the crow is injured but not dead. Top Dollar shoots Eric, but this time it doesn't heal right away. Grange realizes that the crow is alive and tries to find and kill it, when Albrecht show up and starts shooting at Grange and Top Dollar giving Eric a chance to find cover. Myca finds the crow on the floor and grabs it. Albrecht shoots Grange a couple times, while Top Dollar heads up the church stairs with Sarah. Eric explains what's happened to Albrecht. Eric and Albrecht follow them up the stairs, where Albrecht is shot and wounded by Myca. Eric continues catching up to Myca who has the crow. She tells him "This is all the power you ever had. now it is mine. Pity there is not more time for us." She aims her gun at Eric, but the crow gets loose and takes her eyes out and causes her to fall to her death. Eric finds Top Dollar on the roof with Sarah and demands he let her go. Top Dollar tosses her away but she manages to catch the edge of the roof. Top Dollar then attacks with his sword, which Eric dodges, until he can pull a lightning rod from the roof to fend it off. When Eric looks for Sarah, Top Dollar stabs him from behind with his sword. He tells Eric "You know, my Daddy used to say, every man's got a devil and you can't rest til you find him. WHat happened back there with you and your girlfriend, I cleared that building. Hell, nothing in this town happens without my say so. So I'm sorry if I spoiled your wedding plans there friend, but if it's any consolation to you, you have put a smile on my face. You got a lot of spirit, son. I am gonna miss you." He pulls out the knife Myca used to pull out eyes. Eric tells him "I have something to give you. I don't want it anymore." He grabs the sides of Top Dollars head, and tells him "Thirty hours of pain, all at once. All for you."  Top Dollar is overwhelmed and falls off the roof, getting impaled on a gargoyle. Eric grabs Sarah and pulls her up. He tells her to help Albrecht. Eric thanks Albrecht as it was his memory that saved him. He tells Sarah to stay with Albrecht and heads to the cemetery, where he touches Shelly's grave and calls for her. We see Shelly approach him. She smiles and they kiss. We then see the graves back to normal. The crow perches on Eric's grave and when Sarah visits, it gives her Shelly's ring. We see the city, and hear Sarah narrate "If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever."  

We see the dedication come on screen: "For Brandon and Eliza"


Murtaza Ali Khan said...

I have heard a lot about the movie. I have had it in watch-list since a long time. All I needed was a push and that's exactly what your absorbing review has provided me with. I will surely get back once I have watched it :-)

INDBrent said...

Glad to hear it, Murtaza! Feel free to let me know what you think afterwards. Thanks for stopping in and appreciate the kind words!

Unknown said...

Gorgeous, riveting review. I love this movie beyond anything, it appeals to everything I love about story. It is a wonderful film that captures the essence of some very universal themes. I love everything about this film from the screenplay to the music. The cast was top-notch, Michael Wincott is a terrific character actor.

INDBrent said...

Thanks Mel! Yeah, actually I think it's Wincott that prompted me to write this one up. I was rewatching Alien: Resurrection the other day and couldn't place where I knew him from. Once I realized it was the Crow I was thinking of, I had to rewatch it. I'll always have a soft spot for this film. One of a kind!

Mandy said...

This film was spectacular! It was like one long music video. The use of imagery, music and lighting was amazing. Such a tragedy that it was all we got to see of Brandon.

I still listen to the soundtrack often.

Unknown said...

Count me as another Wincott fan - love his work in STRANGE DAYS as well.

Easily the best of all THE CROW films and I have fond memories of seeing it opening night with friends. It also has a fantastic soundtrack of alt-rock bands - Helmet, The Jesus and Mary Chain, the Cure, NIN, and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and so on.

You really captured what makes this film so good and so memorable. It is still one of my fave comic book adaptations. It also may be my fave Proyas film as well. Obviously, hugely indebted to Tim Burton's first BATMAN film you can see its subsequent influence on a film like THE MATRIX.

At any rate, you offered some really great analysis and after reading your review I really want to watch this film again!

INDBrent said...

Hi Emm! agreed. I wore out a cassette of the soundtrack before buying the cd and it still rocks today! BRandon's accident was terrible. It should have been the beginning of quite a career, but it's good that we have this film anyway.

INDBrent said...

Hi J.D.! I remember being amazed myself when it first came out. The idea that the the obscure comic bookcould be made into a film and made well was astonishing at the time. Good call on the Burton Batman influence, you can definitely see that. I think of Proyas' "Dark City" as a close relative of the Crow, the Crow being the best thing he's done. I haven't caught any of the sequels as I thought the story was better as a self contained one.